tv [untitled] July 23, 2010 1:30pm-2:00pm PST
scandal hitting the front page. with a solid plan that unites together all the different law enforcement entities in civilian government that can demonstrate what the future in tales of future floor -- forensic laboratories, as other cities have demonstrated, it may bode well for us as a future bond that housing is the medical examiner that needs an upgraded facility, getting out of this lease, eventually, of building 606, where the crime lab currently is for a laboratory that is not even being used until the year 2015. but we should begin to hear the examples of other cities. in san antonio, buster county,
they serve the reaches of 1.6 million. the crime lab reports in northeastern illinois, they serve a population of 950,000. the santa clara county crime lab is run by the district attorney and overseen by the medical examiner. we could apply these in the consideration of what our crime lab would look like. we are not suggesting that the police department be linked through the enforcement. we would need them, quite practically speaking, they would be the law enforcement connection for i.t. purposes on the data base management, the system requiring law-enforcement interface so that it would be run on the routine basis
required. when we look at the prospects of where the crime lab might be going, it is not going to trends where the national academy of sciences are suggesting, contemplating a different direction. i am happy to see the assistant chief, who just walked in. i was just leading up to your entree. appreciate your presence. >> i apologize for being tardy. your fine supervisor mirkarimi: -- supervisor mirkarimi: you are fine. the future of the crime lab, we have heard thoroughly what they are and they make a lot of sense. we have concluded up over last
term, not long after we began the shift, different folks taking over temporarily the crime lab. the question it begs is what happens after that temporary ship? where do we go from here? that is what this legislation intends to help answer. >> we were looking for some kind of hybrid model where some of the evidence would be sent out to a private laboratory to be tested and we would continue to test a certain amount of evidence there in building 606. the big issue is the building itself, the amount of money it would cost us to get it up to standards or eventually move out of that building into a new location. i know that this was in reference to shifting the responsibility to the city administrator but my only concern was are we developing
another bureaucratic entity that will handle the crime lab? the cost benefits to the citizens of san francisco, i would agree to go in the direction that it turns out to be cost-effective for. but my concern was that it was such a dem, which is not a part of the san francisco police department. it is another city entity outside of our control, to a certain extent. how much will it cost to put a manager in that? are we opening up a bureaucratic silo that we do not need? supervisor mirkarimi: just to recall what has happened over the last few months, at the time when you were forced there was a different caps at the crime lab. maybe you can recall for us from
the last few months the people that have been in charge. >> at the particular time when i was put into the role of overseeing the crime lab and bringing in new personnel and overseeing criminal and administrative investigations, at this time there was new information that oversees the crime lab. what we have done their is the administrative investigation, which is complete, and will go to the cheap as far as the severity of the allegations against individual employees. the criminal investigation is also complete. we are ready for a report back from the entities in which we are attempting to file the case as to how we will handle let or go forward with a criminal case.
the crime lab, dna cases we are outsourcing that the administration is concerned about. like most agencies we are not experts when it comes to dna analysis. we are noticing that there are other laboratories from which we took our samples to be tested that had laboratory issues with their employees. there are some laboratories having the same problem that we are. i am confident that we can continue to oversee the crime lab. frankly we are having a wait- and-see attitude as to how much funding below get in terms of outsourcing the backlog and getting back to the fresh source.
>> went -- supervisor mirkarimi: when we sponsor this study suggesting that municipal crime labs go independent, their response thus was that this was not a loan, by the way, that it was simply suggested, they are having major problems with their crime labs. saying that overwhelmingly those problems are that they find a pattern where they are under the governance of law enforcement. it could be the sheriff's department in one area, the police department in another. that was their answer to us. i was curious why it was there were moving the question of independence. that was the short answer. what would you say to that?
>> we had a significant backlog in los angeles as far as dna was concerned. at the end of the day is simply supervision, that is where we saw the issues. frankly, i think that for me it is about supervision and accountability on the administrative side or the sworn side. i guess it goes back to the question -- does it financially fit the city but to place it with an administrator or put it with the police department? my desire would be to keep it with sfpd. supervisor mirkarimi: just before you came in my suggestion was that there would have to be, ifoo: it required communicationa bit of a hybrid relationship as
there were so many other reasons to not dealing kit. as you talk about cost, the average tests were looking at about 9000 to 10,000 tests per year alternatively. what was submitted to the controller in their analysis for future crime lab usage was only 4000 tests per year. that is more than a 50% drop in the years literally previously, how would they amputate?
>> in terms of testing the narcotics evidence, even if it had gone through the final state, we would test everything. where the officers after being trained are allowed to take test kits and take narcotics into the field to test of it was positive for cocaine, marijuana and so forth. it would go to rein in based on that presumptive testing. the comptroller's office looked at the average of how many tests we would do each year if we were testing every single item that did not necessarily need to be tested. what we found is that we were testing things that were not necessary. the suspect would plead out by,
they did not file the case or other procedural reasons. everything was being tested and it just was not necessary. supervisor mirkarimi: the d.a. has a consistent pattern of sending out four tests as well, to fortified or corroborate the presumptive tests, which is a significant submission rate as well. do you see that being introduced? >> working with that the district attorney's office, we are able to reduce a portion of that. i do not know if we can reduce it all, but we are working closely with the district attorney's office with what needs to be tested, we are not simply arbitrarily testing items because we thought they needed to be tested.
that was why happened over the last couple of years, testing things that never went to court, where the suspect fled guilty. the policies, procedures, and how we conduct business has been altered to save some of that money and not produce that backlog, which came from an excessive amount of test kits that did not need the tested, frankly. >> i am concerned that somehow, and this is more of a sideline discussion, with all of the discussion that we have had in committees about set by laws, foot patrols and everything else, where the people, the citizenry is really demanding a greater level of engagement in their thinking in many of the areas that have been suppressed, it has to do with narcotics, often related to our products, that this seems to be a contrarian moves or removed in the opposite direction this is
more of a sideline point, but it just comes to mind that there are people who are clamoring for a certain level of attention and enforcement, but it sounds like we are reducing enforcement. >> i do not know that we are reducing enforcement as much as we are reducing the testing of the tests. we are still arresting people for narcotics violations, but the issue of those television shows that we watched, the juries often demand that we test, in essence, when it comes to the dna, we need to see whether it came back positive or not. then they will ask us why we did not test it. in certain cases we need to test it to make sure that we exhaust investigative leads. i still feel we are arresting people for narcotics violations, we are simply does not testing as many kits because we do not need to. we are still booking, cautious,
there is a much better supervisor mirkarimi: process speaking of the cost -- better process. supervisor mirkarimi: speaking of the cost, how long do you expect the outsourcing to go on? >> until we are able to hire more personnel to come in and bring the amount of people that work in the crime lab back up to where they are handling a certain amount of cases that suggests an analyst or chemist handle it, bringing it back up to the threshold. they were doing twice the work load of a normal test in other cities. i need to mention that it was not for -- you know, the issues with the backlog, with generators and all of the other things that we talked about, the sad commentary is that we would not be having this discussion of the lab was not involved in misconduct. it would not be on the budget
and it would still be at the same location. it is unfortunate issue that the cat -- imagine case came about, but i think it is a good thing that has caused conversation in reference to the lab, funding, outsourcing and everything. supervisor mirkarimi: are you familiar with any other major cities that outsource their drug lab needs? >> i know that there are police departments, smaller agencies than ours, i guess it would not be called outsourcing, bob and i do not know the specific agency standing up here, but there are smaller agencies to do outsource their testing because it is financially more feasible for them to do that. supervisor mirkarimi: if we do continue on this next year, it would probably be under prop. j. in order to confirm the
outsources. >> even if we pass this ordinance and the administrator has jurisdiction, they would be outsourcing as well? >> and till whenever next that is required. -- supervisor mirkarimi: until whenever the next outsourcing is that is required. our concerns were not picked up on this conversation about potential outsourcing being that it lacks the vision with respect to the comptroller's report, which was based on my five-year estimate. for the laboratory itself, you would think of me would deputize the light of 15 to 20 years and given some vision as to what becomes a building, what becomes of the future if we put something on that with a bond going to the voters. >> supervisors, our analysis
that include an amortized version of the building of a new facility, low-end costs on a new facility. we look at two scenarios. the first being amortized costs, making a bold assumption about what we could finance. on the other side it was if we had to fund it out of the general fund right away at a onetime cost. looking at both of those, the cost difference was $15 million to $21 million. supervisor mirkarimi: typical in the calculation of outsourcing is the need for the person who performed the test to testify. i could not gather the that was included in the cost. regarding the chain of custody of the product, we looked up
what the private laboratories are charging. $500 per hour for testimony. we look at the comptroller's report. we did not see that that was covered in the report. >> supervisor, it was included. depending on the type of testing. so, given that for controlled substances we looked at the cases that would go to trial and require someone in person to testify. we looked at the number of cases that would require that testimony in person. for controlled substances and firearms. from that caseload we estimate of what the cost would be outside of the bay area. supervisor mirkarimi: 4000 tests per year? >> we did not foresee that all
4000 cases would need have someone coming in to testify. there would then require the person that did the testing to come in and testify, which is about 30 to 50 cases per year. supervisor mirkarimi: still a radical shift from previous year where law enforcement in san francisco has routinely submitted, now there is a strategy that they did say the cases will be tested by 50% each year. the first time this happened in decades. by that happening, all so you can complete the philosophical changes to the police department as well. >> that is absolutely right, supervisor. supervisor mirkarimi: is that ultimately on the district attorney's office as well?
i assume that we talk about testing collectively. >> we asked how many cases each year, that is how we came up with 30%. we worked closely with them, we worked with them on the percentage of how many needed to be tested. to come up with these numbers. what i am saying is that the practice prior to us getting in there and looking at it was to test everything, no matter what
it was, if it went to court, if it was guilty. it was unnecessary to test major portions of narcotics. we tested everything but it turned out that a major portion of the testing never went to court. supervisor mirkarimi: it also begs the question why we invested so much money over the years in the budgetary process for an obvious practice that was even less necessary if that is the response. >> i agree. supervisor mirkarimi: there was never a report to say that this was an excessive use of dollars for the district attorney for police department? no one has ever said to was that we could test last by 60%, saving millions of dollars.
for this to come to life, i agree there is opportunity in the crisis, but it also raises questions -- do we fortified the perception that the integrity, durability of this laboratory will be compromised? or is there an opportunity to do something better in the future? >> we have an opportunity to do something better in the future, but we can do a better within the family. people that work there have done a marvelous job or the years. i know for a fact that employees that were working in that laboratory and that were part of that particular unit do great work and we cannot just wholeheartedly move this outside of the sf pd because of
one employee philosophically i would like to keep it in house again. it is better to send it to the city administrator at the end of the day, it is best for the city. supervisor mirkarimi: weicker did not be a hybrid relationship? >> i cannot tell you that it could not, but i would have to look at it and understand what that means. as to whether it would work or not work before we get a chance to look at the hybrid process that you are interested in. supervisor mirkarimi: but if we
move forward with a bond that rebuilds the rededicated space for the forensics, that almost forces the discussion with that particular vision. all that that would do is have a slight change in the sharing of governance. it is not divorce the s&p, but it moves it closer to a relationship that seems to be in line with what the national academy of science recommends. >> the big issue is building a 606. if we move to that building eventually will have to put money into that infrastructure no matter how we look at. in the middle of the night, said one of the freezers broke down and i am used to turning on a generator sapphira electricity, there might not be a generator at the building and then we have to bring one in. staying there, if not obviously
we would have to move to a different facility. i understand what your saying and we would be more than happy to look into other aspects of a hybrid, but i do not have enough information on a high ridge laboratory to give you enough. supervisor mirkarimi: it would seem like a poor choice of funding to continue to invest in 606, would you not agree? should there not be an opportunity for us to think on the improved reputation of the crime laboratory and sf tv? selling to the voters in the near future the prospect of us bonding the capital developments of a crime laboratory? this is what was contemplated before the recent election. by smart block. we were able to remove them the
lead that portion from the bond. days before the scandal had imploded. now i would like us to return back to that particular concept. san francisco, frankly, could benefit well, as could the region, if we had a laboratory that could perform the services that the people of san francisco need. doing something that, apparently, other municipalities are capitalizing on and modifying in many parts of the country. in illinois, new york, texas, do you not think we could also do that? >> i agreed. nothing you have said allied disagree with, but i would have to stand back and really look at what that means. i've been to comment on what i hybrid laboratory city would be, causing the blueprints of the procedure is and how we would
run the laboratory, but there's nothing that i disagree with. at the end of the day, we need to be transparent and service the citizens as best we can and what ever for in the road that takes us down, i am willing. supervisor mirkarimi: thank you, assistant chief. madam controller? may i speak with you as well? thank you. colleagues? any questions? i am just curious, what is the recommendation of the comptroller's office beyond the outsourcing of the next few years? blacks over the next few years we recommend that the police department gain experience in contacting out and over time, potentially in the next year also, and we recommend that day began the process of outsourcing.
they are doing that currently with controlled substances. they have two that will be coming out soon that will begin that process of outsourcing, both with controlled substances on an interim basis and with dna backlog. we also recommend that a further gain experience in the firearms side of testing as well, beginning to get a sense of what testing would look like. supervisor mirkarimi: when you say a further gain experience in their effort to restore credibility back to the crime lab, does that remove the potential schedule of us trying to bond before the voters as we have fought a few months back?
for a new crime lab? you say that that should basically be put on the shelf. >> i do not think that we are saying that we necessarily say that, it would be up to the mayor's office to make that decision whether or not the crime lab should stay in house or under the visibility of building the function. however, from the information and model that we had estimated, given the current circumstances of not having it on as an option, that it to the general fund would be significant enough to warrant general outsourcing. supervisor mirkarimi: in the controller's report by saw no reference to the best practices or question particularly with